KCOT was a new club, chartered four months before the Tempe Daily News reported on June 19, 1952 that, "All arrangements have been completed for the whiz-bang display of pyrotechnics on the Fourth of July in Goodwin Stadium.... Ray Haire and John Ellingson, co-chairmen for the Club's first fireworks, said proceeds would go to its program for underprivileged children."
"The fireworks will consist of 185 aerial pieces, with demonstrations of two gasoline-powered model airplanes; a trampoline demonstration by Frank Bostock; and a demonstration by the Tempe Unit of the Arizona National Guard."
An Arizona Republic account noted that "there will be a full hour of entertainment, including many brilliant fireworks."
The Tempe Daily News gave its report on the fireworks show in its July 5 edition:
2000 See 4th of July Fireworks: Kiwanis Show Good for First Attempt
Around 2,000 persons turned out Friday evening for the Fourth of July fireworks display and show in Goodwin Stadium. It was the first annual event staged by the Kiwanis Club for benefit of its handicapped children's fund.
Tentative figures indicate the club will be 'in the clear' on expenses for the show, which topped $1,000, but how much will go into the benefit fund still was to be determined. Harry Burger, club president, indicated a complete report would be available Monday.
Firemen who stood by doused two starry fireballs from aerial rockets. One fell on a house at 112 E. 4th St. 'toasting' composition shingles. The other fell in the west stadium seating. The home, formerly owned by Col. D.H. Davis, was recently purchased by H.C. Hanger. There was no damage.
Over $230 ultimately went to the benefit fund from the first KCOT fireworks show.
The venue for the fireworks show moved several times from Goodwin Stadium (now a parking structure at Lemon St. and College Ave.) to Sun Devil Stadium to Packard Stadium to Tempe Diablo Stadium, and finally to Tempe Beach Park at Tempe Town Lake. Second only to the Grand Canyon, Tempe Town Lake is the most visited recreation area in Arizona!
Want to find out more about tickets, attractions, parking & transit, restrictions, or sponsorship opportunities? For all this information and more, please click the button below to visit our July 4th Tempe Town Lake Festival website:
My have times changed! KCOT's annual July 4th Tempe Town Lake Festival draws nearly 40,000 people downtown; is 6 hours of entertainment; the largest fireworks display in the State of Arizona; a military flyover; live music; food vendors; beer gardens; etc... etc. To see a full list of activities and other information, please visit Tempe4th.com. Since the first fireworks show, KCOT has raised and distributed millions of dollars with the help of generous corporate sponsors, and everyone whom attends. Although times have changed, KCOT's intention remains the same - to use all net proceeds gained from the Independence Day event to support local children and youth organizations, in keeping with the Club's purpose of "improving the world one child and one community at a time."